SAN FRANCISCO — When the play started, the 49ers were in a hole and needed breathing room.
When it ended, Garrison Hearst was out of breath.
A broken tackle, a nifty move, a turn of speed and Hearst was off on a breathtaking run, going 96 yards for a touchdown in overtime to put an abrupt end to a dramatic passing duel and lift San Francisco to a 36-30 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.
"I just wanted to hit the hole quick and get what I could," Hearst said. "Things happened after that."
It was the longest run from scrimmage in 49er history and upstaged the competition between quarterbacks Steve Young and Glenn Foley.
It even overshadowed Jerry Rice's return after two serious knee injuries that sidelined most of last season.
A Jet punt pinned San Francisco on its four. On the first play, Hearst ran off right tackle, shed a defender at the line of scrimmage, straight-armed another at about the 20 before shaking free of one more at midfield. Picking up blockers, he ran down the sideline, with Terrell Owens clearing the way, and was knocked into the end zone by Mo Lewis' tackle.